Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Random Ten

Editor's Note: Once again, Otto Man is on the road this week, walking the earth like Kane from "Kung Fu," righting wrongs wherever he finds them. As a result, we bring you a special FRT flashback. Enjoy the trip.

Ladies and gentlemen of Earth, allow me to present the Spotnicks.

I'm a little fuzzy on the history of this band, but from their space-age outfits, I think they're the ones who did the original versions of such classic songs as "Space Oddity," "Nothing Ever Happens on Mars," and, of course, the soul-stirring "On the Spaceship Lollipop." Classic, classic stuff.

On this album, the Spotnicks have landed in London -- no, really! look at the photo! -- to spread their intergalactic rocking to the swingingest country on this here planet. Apparently, that bobby is giving them directions to the nearest assemblage of impressionable young Brits. Or telling them to bugger off. Hard to say.

Anyway, the arrival of the Spotnicks can only mean that it's once again time for the Friday Random Ten.

For those of you just joining us, here's how it's done, in three easy steps. First, take out whatever music storage device you use -- an iPod, an imitationPod, a 1958 Wurlitzer jukebox, the rhythm-blessed wino on your corner, whatever -- set it to random, and give us the first ten songs that come out. Second, if you'd like to kick it up a notch Elzar-style, rate the songs on a scale of one to ten, with one being the biggest bunch of sucks who ever sucked a suck and ten being a song so cool that it collapses upon itself to form a black hole of coolness that not even Barry White's voice could escape. Third, mock everyone else's music.

Alright, let's do this thing!

1. Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant, "Low Man on the Totem Pole" -- This pair formed the backbone of many a country hit during the '50s, with some pedal steel guitar work that would make a redneck cry. Not exactly cool, this is more along the lines of Grandpa Simpson's getaway music. 6/10

2. Iron & Wine, "Jesus the Mexican Boy" -- I tend to enjoy Sam Beam's narcoleptic folk, but this one is a little bit too sleepy-eyed. And besides, good Americans are now supposed to hate all things Mexican. 5/10

3. Roísín Murphy, "Through Time" -- While I enjoyed her work in the electronica duo Moloko and the visiting teaching job she did at the Handsome Boy Modeling School, this song off her debut solo album is fairly uninspired. Maybe they're going for faux-70s-schlock, but it just sounds like schlock to me. Feh. 3/10

4. Blackalicious, "Blazing Arrow" -- Finally, something presentable. This track, from the album of the same name, is just what you'd expect from the hiphop geniuses of Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab -- blistering fast rhymes, loopy beats, and odd catchy hooks. Nicely done. 9/10

5. Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five, "Teacher (How I Love My Teacher)" -- Ugh, I spoke too soon. Again, I normally love Louis Jordan, but this is pretty much a boring tribute to the Martin Princes of the world. This song makes me want to pound nerds until they crumble like a batch of his raisin roundies. 1/10

6. Radiohead, "Morning Bell" -- This is the more uptempo version, from Kid A. Certainly one of my favorites, with an incredibly catchy hook and the best lyrics ever written about a divorce. "Cut the kids in half"? Daaaaaamn. 10/10

7. De La Soul, "Keepin' the Faith (Fly and Funky Mix)" -- Listen, people: subtitles don't lie. This remix is both fly and funky. I think I still prefer the original, but given the crapapalooza I'm having today, I'll grab onto this like a lifevest. 7/10

8. U.N.K.L.E. with South, "Paranoid (UNKLE Variation)" -- A nice, driving instrumental from the outstanding Sexy Beast soundtrack. Since the song has no words, allow me to quote one of my favorite bits from Ben Kingsley's character: "Retired? Fuck off, you're revolting. Look at your suntan, it's leather, it's like leather man, your skin. We could make a fucking suitcase out of you. Like a crocodile, fat crocodile, fat bastard. You look like fucking Idi Amin, you know what I mean? Stay here? You should be ashamed of yourself. Who do you think you are? King of the castle? Cock of the walk? [punch] What you think this is the wheel of fortune? You think you can make your dough and fuck off? Leave the table? Thanks Don, see you Don, off to sunny Spain now Don, fuck off Don. Lying in your pool like a fat blob laughing at me, you think I'm gonna have that? You really think I'm gonna have that, ya ponce?" Man, I'd love to see Kingsley do that monologue as Gandhi. 8/10

9. Bobby Emmons, "Blue Organ" -- This song certainly features some phenomenal work on the Hammond organ, but it isn't even remotely blue. In fact, it's pretty fucking hot. Phenomenal. 10/10

10. Wolfmother, "Love Train" -- Once you've pulled the hard-rocking foot out of your ass, take a look at the website. These guys seem to have all the '70s charm of the Darkness, but with twice as much stolen from Ozzy Osbourne during his Sabbath heyday. Excellent stuff. 9/10

Well, that gives me another underwhelming score on the Coolness Scale, a mediocre 6.8 average. Boo!

Surely, you can do better than that. Drop your own FRT in the comments, with or without the Coolness Self Audit. It's the right thing to do, and a tasty way to do it.


Tom Hilton said...

Dave Alvin - Thirty Dollar Room (9/10 - Alvin at his best)
Link Wray - Big Boss Man (7/10 - cool track, not a great voice)
Latin Playboys - Cuca's Blues (10/10)
Shriekback - Black Light Trap (7/10)
10,000 Maniacs - Because the Night (8/10 - yes, I know some people consider it sacrilege; I think it's a damn good cover)
Shadows - Man of Mystery (8/10 - one of their best tunes)
Judybats - She Lives (in a Time of Her Own) (9/10 - speaking of damn good covers)
Eno - St. Elmo's fire (9/10)
Wire - The Other Window (8/10)
Portishead - Undenied (9/10)

8.4 average. Not too shabby.

peb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peb said...

Wow. I guess nobody's feeling the repeat FRT today. Well, I did one anyway so here you go.

1. Malt Swagger, “Binger” – Malt Swagger is a band from around my stomping grounds (Chapel Hill). This is off a recent compilation made by the UNC student radio station WXYC. It’s a driving, creepy song that’s kind of hard for me to describe. So why don’t you download it and decide whether you like it for yourself? 8/10

2. Eric Sermon featuring Redman, “React” – Eric Sermon was one half of the legendary hip-hop group EPMD. I don’t remember when he went solo, but it must be around the time Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On” came out because this is sort of a cheaper copy of that song. And nowhere as good as “Housin’”. 6/10

3. Hüsker Dü, “In A Free Land (Live)” – It’s so cool to add the word “Live” to the end of a song title. And when the band in question is Hüsker Dü, you know “Live” means “Rip-Your-Head-Off-And-Hand-It-Back-To-You Good”. Plus, umlauts! 8/10

4. Meat Puppets, “100 Percent of Nothing” – This is a quick little bonus track from Meat Puppets II. I think this evolved into another song on the album. “Magic Toy Missing”, maybe? Anyway, points off for being quick and incomplete, but still, it’s Meat Puppets II. 7/10

5. The Flaming Lips, “Mr. Ambulance Driver” – The Flaming Lips played in Raleigh last night actually. I didn’t go mostly because I’m not 20 years old anymore and I had to get up and work this morning, but partially because their work is trending towards this mellow easy-listening crap over the past few years. 5/10

6. The House of Love, “Welt” – One of these days, the House of Love’s “Christine” will show up on this list and I can give it the 10/10 it deserves. But in the meantime, I have to settle for rest of the House of Love’s mediocre output. 3/10

7. The Verve, “Make It Till Monday” – Very dreamy, trippy song from the Verve. I’d probably describe it as the Cocteau Twins meeting the Stone Roses, if either of those bands mean anything to you. I thought about using Oasis as a reference, but the Verve is much better than Oasis. 7/10

8. Prince, “Raspberry Beret” – Man, Prince was on top of his game when this came out. Did he play this at the Super Bowl? It would have been a lot better than that Foo Fighters song. 10/10

9. The Fall, “Totally Wired” – My brother told me he used to listen to Gibby Haynes’ (of the Butthole Surfers) morning radio show on the local alternative radio station when he lived in Austin (yes, he had a radio show) and he would play this song all the time amongst all the modern rock crap that he was forced to play. So I’ll give it a good score just for that. 8/10

10. The Replacements, “Black Diamond (Live)” – Another live song from a legendary Minneapolis rock group. Maybe there will be some Soul Asylum next week. Off the very respectable Maniac bootleg, this is a great cover of a not-so-great KISS song that they also did on their album Let It Be (you knew that already, right?). 8/10

So I barely passed this week with a 7.0 average. Luckily it looks like no one will notice my mediocrity.

Otto Man said...

Tom and Pedro, keeping the home fires burning. God bless you both.